Hungary Magazine

Unique ‘Catwalk Concert’ to close Budapest theatre showcase festival

Budapest, Hungary – Turning everyday administration procedures into a play where folk songs are merged with a fashion show – what’s not to like?

Created by two exceptional Hungarian artists​ and an untraditional choral ensemble, the unique ‘Catwalk Concert’ The Issue will be the closing performance of this year’s dunaPart theatre showcase festival in Budapest. You won’t want to miss it!

It will be held on Saturday at Trafó House (Liliom u. 41), at 21:00. More info here.

When folk songs are merged with a fashion show

The Issue is the second performance of Catwalk Concert Productions, a co-production of costume designer Fruzsina Nagy, musician Dóra Halas and her experimental choir, Soharóza, and sound designer Márk Bartha.

The basic concept was inspired by Zoltán Kodály’s “liederspiel”, The Spinning Room, which is a string of etudes based on Transylvanian folk songs that give an insight into everyday rural life. Similarly, The Issue wishes to present an abstract living picture of the current state of Hungarian society and its region through short stories that take place in a typical environment of our urban life: the bureau office.

Each scene illustrates a different issue by using creative, story-telling costumes displayed by 31 singers. The music of the choir – put together by the members themselves using their trademark methods (choral improvisation and collective composing) – goes back to the roots of Hungarian culture and revitalizes folk songs by mixing original lyrics with new texts written by the renowned Hungarian poet Ádám Fekete and accompanied by Márk Bartha’s electronic instrumentation.

Yet, The Issue is not an authentic folk performance: it brings archetypal elements to tackle modern topics that concern every single one of us in today’s society.

The-Issue-Catwalk-Concert-Budapest
Each scene illustrates a different issue by using creative, story-telling costumes displayed by 31 singers.

“Turning everyday administration procedures into a play where folk songs are merged with a fashion show is a very crazy idea in itself and, as such, it can either be a great success or an epic failure”, says Szilvia Sisso Artner, of Szinhaz.net. “When it comes to The Issue, a piece directed by Fruzsina Nagy and Dóra Halas, the former is true”.

For Ádám Jasinka, Deszkavízió: “While real human emotions emerge at the most unexpected moments, social problems surface. Yet, humor prevails throughout the performance and I don’t think anybody has ever talked about issues that concern and annoy us all in such an entertaining way. And, just as euphoric as the rhymes, there are the costumes which are, simply put, fantastic. The collections of Fruzsina Nagy, in line with the catwalk concert denomination, are revealed to the eyes of the public in an absolutely professional fashion show”.

As in the previous editions, dunaPart festival will be presenting the most interesting artists and productions from the past 2 years, both from theatre and contemporary dance. The festival will showcase the latest creations, the newest talents and the already familiar artists active in Hungary today.

According to the organisers, their “utmost objective remains to be the promotion of Hungary-based artists with their better visibility and further integration in the international performing arts scene”.

For those who can’t make it to this weekend’s performance, the unique ‘Catwalk Concert’ will play again on December 13, 14 and 15.

The-Issue-Catwalk-Concert-Budapest-2
The Issue is not an authentic folk performance: it brings archetypal elements to tackle modern topics that concern every single one of us in today’s society.

Slang-opera in a cave, gastronomical concerts and Turkish baths

Costume designer Fruzsina Nagy started her career in alternative theatre productions and over the past decade she has directed several individual performances using costumes as the “main characters” on stage.

She is highly interested in the relationship between the human body and its surrounding world, working with costumes, masks, make-up, fashion and visuals. She gained “Best Costume and Mask Award” at the Hungarian POSzT festival in 2009 and 2013 and was chosen “Costume Designer of the Year” in 2016.

Dóra Halas leader of Soharóza, a Budapest-based experimental choral ensemble in 2008 at the suggestion of renowned theatre director Viktor Bodó. Her main artistic interest lies in multidisciplinary performances, where she can combine the elements and values of her choral ensemble with that of other arts.

Through a completely new approach to choral music and collective singing, utilising special creative techniques, her choral ensemble Soharóza experiments and improvises with the human voice, language, movement, rhythm, folk music as well as composed pieces, continually searching for new forms and sounds and using collective choral composition methods developed by themselves.

They have performed a slang-opera in a cave, organised gastronomical concerts together with a famous Hungarian food-blogger, hosted one of their music shows in an abandoned power-station, participated in flashmobs in concert halls and Turkish baths – just to name a few of their unique appearances.

A political science graduate from the University of Nottingham, Tom Eisenchteter lived in South Africa, Thailand and Malaysia before returning to his native France where he worked in the media department of the French Ministry of Defense. He is a regular contributor to the publications of French media Asialyst and of the Paris-based think-tank Asia Centre. In 2018, he founds Kafkadesk Media with his brother in Prague.

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